Talks: 'Candid, practical and constructive'

Updated: 2015-06-23 11:12

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington(

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Senior civilian and military officials from China and the United States gathered in Washington on Monday for the 5th China-US Strategic Security Dialogue (SSD) to discuss a host of important, sometime sensitive and controversial issues.

The closed-door meeting was chaired by China’s Executive Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, a former Chinese ambassador to the US, and US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It was also attended by Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the general staff department of the People’s Liberation Army, and Christine Wormuth, US under secretary of defense for policy.

The two sides exchanged views on strategic security and comprehensive security issues of common concerns in a candid, practical and constructive way, according to a press release from the Chinese delegation.

The two sides have decided to continue their dialogue and communication on related issues to increase strategic mutual trust and promote a stable China-US strategic security relationship.

Both sides have also praised the significance of the SSD and agreed to hold more talks leading to the new round of SSD next year, which will be held right ahead of the 8th China-Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine on Monday, State Councilor Yang Jiechi argued that China-US cooperation benefits the two countries and the world.

Yang said that China and the United States today maintain close communication and cooperation in a wide range of areas concerning peace and development of humanity. “The two countries have increasingly close and effective cooperation in combating terrorism, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, seeking solutions to regional hotspot issues, fighting transnational crimes and containing the outbreak of epidemics,” he said.

Yang and Vice-Premier Wang Yang will co-chair the 7th Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday.

The two countries have maintained close communication and coordination over such issues as Iran’s nuclear program, the Korean nuclear issue and South Sudan and they have worked tirelessly to find solutions, Yang wrote, citing the joint efforts by China and the US in training Afghan diplomats, helping Timor-Leste with agricultural development and exploring tripartite cooperation in Africa and other regions, thus contributing to stability and development of the countries and regions concerned.

The two countries have worked with other parties at the G20 and APEC to promote better global economic governance and launched the process of a Free trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), according to Yang.

The career diplomat said after 36 years of diplomatic engagement, China and the US now share more converging interests. “Our bilateral ties are assuming greater strategic significance as well as global influence. Under the new circumstances, the number of areas where our two countries should and could work together has dramatically increased, not decreased,” he wrote.

Yang said China stands ready to work with the US to follow up on the agreement reached between the two presidents by keeping to the right direction of building a new model of major-country relationship.

“The two countries need to work together to deepen strategic communication, enhance strategic mutual trust, avoid strategic miscalculation, properly manage differences and sensitive issues, and expand exchanges and result-oriented cooperation across the board,” he wrote.

The key topics for the 7th round of S&ED include reinforcing extensive cooperation in counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, military-to-military ties, law enforcement, climate change, energy and the environment and science and technology, as well as Iranian and Korean nuclear issues and other regional hotspot issues, and exploring the way the two countries conduct exchanges and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, according to Yang.

“I look forward to working with Secretary Kerry to make this dialogue as productive as it can be in order to prepare for President Xi’s state visit to the United States in September and inject more positive energy into the growth of China-US relations,” said Yang, a former foreign minister and former ambassador to the US.

In an article posted on the Brookings Institution website on Monday, Jeffrey Bader, a senior fellow at the Brookings and former special assistant to US President Barack Obama for national security affairs, disagreed with the notion that the China policy pursued by the previous eight US presidents is outdated.

He argued that the US should not discard the approach taken by eight presidents since Nixon in favor of an assumption of inevitable hostility and a strategy of across-the-board rivalry that may be compelling in international relations theory but which no president has found persuasive.

“I hope and expect that the ninth president since Nixon, though faced with an evolving China, will not discard the playbook used by the American statesmen who built and nurtured the US-China relationship and built a generation of peace in Asia,” he said.